What we know about “Mr. Cruel,” the Australian killer once linked to the Golden State Killer

On April 25th, California law enforcement arrested a suspect in the Golden State Killer case, which involves the murder of 12 women and the sexual assault of approximately 46 others throughout the ’70s and ’80s. The suspect, 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo(a former police officer in the Bay Area), was linked to the crimes via DNA evidence and has been charged with eight counts of murder. 

And apparently, before his arrest, California authorities checked to see if DeAngelo may have some connection to a serial rapist and murderer in Australia known as “Mr. Cruel.” This was due to the fact that DeAngelo lived in Australia in 1967 when he served on the USS Canberra during a tour of duty in North Vietnam.

Mr. Cruel, a serial offender who terrorized Australia during the ’80s and ’90s, kidnapped and raped three girls under the age of 14. However, the case went cold after he murdered 13-year-old Karmein Chan in Melbourne, Australia.


DeAngelo and Mr. Cruel had strikingly similar patterns. Both wore masks and initially posed as home invaders before torturing their victims, sometimes pausing to eat food from the victim’s kitchen. They were both highly premeditated, surveilling neighborhoods for weeks at a time in order to plan their attacks.

However, law enforcement has come to the conclusion that it’s highly unlikely that DeAngelo and Mr. Cruel are the same person, and for now the theory has been ruled out. We just hope that DeAngelo’s arrest can bring his victims and their families some closure. It’s long overdue. 

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